A Los Angeles police sergeant is under investigation following a young woman's complaint that he raped her in a patrol car, police said Friday.
Police spokesman Cmdr. William Booth refused to disclose the name of the officer, who was working the late shift at the Devonshire Division in the northwest San Fernando Valley when the alleged rape occurred.
The unidentified woman made an official complaint to the department on Feb. 9, Booth said. He said the woman alleged that the officer offered her a ride, then raped her in the patrol car.
'Officer Denies Occurrence'
Robert Loew, a Police Protective League lawyer who is advising the accused officer, said, "The officer denies any such occurrence and is at a loss to explain at this point the reason for the allegation."
Police Chief Daryl F. Gates ordered the internal investigation after learning of the allegations, Booth said.
The sergeant has not been arrested, Booth said, but has been taken off of field duty and placed on special duty status while the Police Department's Internal Affairs Division investigates the complaint, Booth said.
The case also will be turned over to the county district attorney's office special task force on law enforcement cases early next week for investigation, Booth said.
The officer could also face an internal Police Department Board of Rights hearing on charges that he acted in a manner unbecoming an officer and was derelict in his duty, Booth said.
Could Be Dismissed by Board
Even if found innocent in a criminal trial, the sergeant could be dismissed from the police force if found guilty by the internal police board, Booth said. Such boards, made up of high-ranking officers, have the power to fire an officer or impose a lesser penalty.
In June, 1982, a former Los Angeles police sergeant, Leigh B. Schroyer, was found guilty of raping a woman he stopped for a traffic violation the previous year.
Schroyer, who was assigned to the West Valley Division, allegedly stopped the woman and gave her a field sobriety test. She failed the test, but instead of taking her to jail, Schroyer took her home and raped her, prosecutors said.
Schroyer resigned from the Police Department rather than face an internal police board hearing. A Superior Court judge sentenced him to three years in prison for the rape conviction.